Nigerian senators including the senate president Bola Ahmed Tinubu have received not less than N218 million as allowance before proceeding on seven weeks of vacation.
In the viral video posted on Wednesday morning, Akpabio was heard saying the National Assembly Clerk has disbursed funds to all senators to enjoy to enable them to enjoy their holiday.
“In order to enable all of us to enjoy our holidays, a token has been sent to our various accounts by the clerk of the national assembly.”
A senator who requested not to be named because he was not authorised by the upper house to speak on the matter confirmed that all the 109 senators were paid the allowance for the holidays, which commenced on Monday and ended on 26 September.
The calculations showed that the senators were paid N218 million, receiving N2 million each to enjoy the vacation.
The senators received the bank alerts on 8 August, just before the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, announced it.
However, it should be noted that the N2 million allowance given to the senators is illegal as no such provision is made in the remuneration package approved by RMAFC, and there is also no provision for “token” in the commission’s document, as stated by Akpabio while announcing the generosity to the senators.
According to the package prepared by RMAFC, a senator earns N2,026,400 and therefore gets N202,240 as a recess allowance per annum.
The basic salary of the senate president per annum is N2,483,242 and therefore receives N248,424 as recess allowance.
On his part, the deputy senate president earns N2,309,166, and his recess allowance is N230,916.
Meanwhile, there are speculations that the N2 million each of the senators got was drawn from the N70 billion allocated to the National Assembly in the amended 2022 supplementary budget.
It would be recalled that President Bola Tinubu had in June proposed the allocation in the Supplementary budget “to support the working conditions of new members.”
It was immediately approved by the lawmakers.
The fresh allocation came despite the huge allocation of N228.1 billion to the National Assembly in the 2023 budget. The figure was an increase of about N59.1 billion from N169 billion proposed by former President Muhammadu Buhari in the budget.
The announcement by Akpabio that senators had been paid “a token” stirred anger and outrage from Nigerians, considering the hardship many are going through due to the removal of petroleum subsidy.
Many Nigerians have also questioned the ability of the Akpabio-led Senate to fight corruption and assist in developing the country’s economy.